Fall Fear and Fantasy Film and Fiction Festival
Summoning Dinner

Photos of those in attendance at the 2012 Wagner Dinner

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Wagner aficionados believe some sort of recognition of Knoxville’s greatest horror writer is long overdue, and we intend to conjure up a Wagner's Sabbat in his hometown.

In October of 2012, on the meaningful 13th, a few Wagner devotées residing in shadow-haunted Knoxville and dark pilgrims from cities and towns hundreds of miles distant, from Far Lands and Other Days, met at the strange and charming game and card shop and comics emporium Organized Play in Knoxville’s Old City. Due to the last minute decision to meet again, and illness and misfortune keeping some away, this year only seven connoiseurs of arcame literature were in attendance. Yet the mood was optimistic that a more ambitious event can yet br organized here. We are, at last, getting some serious interest from officials in the city, including our new mayor. Our new venue, the back room and patio of the establishment, affording us much more privacy and elbow and tentacle room than our previous spot at Sullivan’s, was far more conducive to conversation and reminiscence. We were able to get better acquainted with one another and to better hear Barbara Mott’s memories of life with Karl and the gifts and obstacles which directed his creative impulses. As a well-known Anglophile Karl would have been pleased by the fare and the additional brews and ciders brought us by the professional and attentive server from the British pub just beside us, The Crown and Goose. Such traditional English staples as bangers and mash, bubble-and-squeak and black-and-tan were available, along with fancier dishes.

Karl’s hometown Knoxville is increasingly willing to acknowledge our eldritch undercurrents. The third Karl Edward Wagner Literary Society meeting was followed a couple of days later by a zombie jamboree in our legended Ijams Unnatural Center and, the following weekend, by the Knoxville‘s Horror Film Festival This will be the fourth year of the film festival, founded by William Mahaffey; it has proven to be quite successful. The University of Tennesee in Knoxville is still considering a horror fiction festival though details are sketchy. Earlier Neil Gaiman, among others, was said to be interested..

Unfortunately an untimely visitation of full employment has prevented my promoting this event in any significant way, for the last couple of years, and the decision to get together this year was very ad hoc. Yet the venue couldn’t have been better, and the few that showed up made up for their lack of numbers by insightful conversation and wit. I hope to be more engaged next year and to have the assistance of some planners far more capable than myself. If you’d like to meet a few of Karl’s old friends, his ex-wife, at least one of his nephews and some other fans of his work and discuss how we might prevail upon the city of Knoxville to take fantasy more seriously, join us for some hearty camraderie in October of 2013 on the weekend following the anniversary of Karl’s death. And, if you think you could do a better job of furthering this festival... you’re almost certainly right. Let’s talk. My email address is on the homepage.    ~ John Mayer

P.S. T-Shirts are available; I’m selling them at cost to help promote Karl, his work, and the festival concept. You could do us a favor by being photographed in yours before some recognizable landmark or distinctive landscape for posting on this site. I think they will go for $15.

A Paranormal Vision: The Karl Edward Wagner Fall Fear and Fantasy Film & Fiction Festival


Patrick Sullivan’s Salloon (drawn by myself, John Mayer), after the manner of Lee Brown Coye (more or less), for the upcoming anthology Hex Code and Others, by myself, edited by Henrik Harksen. In our youth this building and the others in Knoxville’s Old City were given over to a few poolhalls and black clubs – Cab Calloway played here (I got to see him perform in Knoxville, at the Tennessee) – and a number of second-hand and junk shops where both Karl and I often bought old fantasy and horror books and magazines. There was also, in Big Don’s Bargain Barn, which is still there, a real skeleton in a real, antique coffin. Why? Who knows. It had just always been there.

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Among his many other skills and accomplishments, Karl Wagner was an exceptional raconteur. When the Wagner Festsival becomes a realithy he will be with us in spirit, and in the memories and conversation of his friends, family and fans.

Storyteller Photo © Louise Stewart


Wagner Fall Fear Fest Shirt Wagner Shirt Back

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Other Things to See and Do in Karlville

All within walking distance

Knoxville’s Marvelous Movie Palace
(an Acre of Seats, More Stars than there are in the Heavens. See the Mighty Wurlitzer organ rise from nether regions)

The Remarkable Bijou Theater

(Title structure of David Madden’s book of the same name. Some of the best acoustics of any theater, and the only full-drop theater remaining in the Southeastern US. Also the fourth oldest buillding in Knoxville - yes, it’s haunted - with a rich history. Needless to say, Knoxville tried to tear it down... )

The S&W Cafeteria Open House
(One of Knoxville’s Few Art Deco treasures, in its heyday this opulent eatery gave the lie to the notion of cafeteria food as declassé; completely restored and as elegant as ever. Still finding their way cuisine wise, and the least veggie friendly place in town)

S & W

More Restaurants, Clubs and Theaters, both Live and Film, than you can shake “Sticks” at.

About Knoxville

Learn Knoxville’s Dark Secrets
Knoxville’s Secret Historian writes of the lobotomy of Tennessee WIlliam’s sister Rose (in Knoxville?), the world-famous Huddle (now the site of a comics and gaming shop Organized Play, it was once a bar made famous by Comac Macarthy and the inspiration for a German band, Buddy and the Huddle, and more)

Knoxville: the Literary Cliff Notes

Knoxville: Spawn of Evil
Much of this history of “The Invisible Empire of Soulless Men,” by Manly Wellman’s brother, Paul, takes place in early Knoxville


Places of Arcane Interest Nearby

The Body Farm

The Lost Sea

The Town of Rugby

More events and details soon

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